Senate Bill (SB) 307, which would allow for social consumption of cannabis is now on the -3 amendments. There was a public hearing on May 30 on these amendments. A number of proponents of the bill spoke in favor of the -3 amendments. Rob Bovett from AOC spoke in opposition on behalf of the public safety community. Stacy Michaelson from AOC was joined by Rosa Klein of Multnomah County in speaking against the -3 amendments on behalf of county public health. No further action has been scheduled on the bill at this time.
Health & Human Services Budget
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Department of Human Services (DHS) presented their budget rebalance figures to the Ways & Means Subcommittee on Human Services on May 31. Despite the much-talked-about budget shortfall for the 2017-19 biennium, both agencies are actually closing out the 2015-17 biennium with a surplus.
DHS has an estimated surplus of $51.4 million. This net estimate is primarily due to fluctuations in caseload and cost per case, but also includes some cost increases and program savings. DHS also projects needing less Other Funds ($18.0 million) and Federal Funds expenditure limitation ($14.4 million) to close out the biennium.
OHA expects to complete the 2015-17 biennium with a surplus of $7.6 million General Fund. This is related to several issues, including lower caseload, Other Fund revenues above forecast, and a mixture of increases and decreases in program costs. The Legislative Fiscal Office recommendation includes an additional $4.0 million General Fund savings resulting from underspending in the rural provider insurance subsidy program. The total General Fund savings is then $11.6 million.
Contributed by: Stacy Michaelson | AOC Health & Human Services Policy Manager